In my disenchanted garden a thousand feathers are cast
messed and untethered from a broken bird,
while emaciated noodles flown in from Singapore
entangle nastily in my fridge, twitching to the bitch of
disembodied wireless witches, busy insinuating
trashed and shattered lives into wheat
shredded for modern convenience.
My unspoken words are only roughly equivalent
to their original tidy meanings,
and sit uneasily, itching to be Gestetnered.
Alone in the old bathroom, I crouched,
steaming, in a towel, the warmth
of a recent bath rising from my skin;
long childhood locks lifted in a plastic cap.
While grown-ups thought I bathed, I took a brush
and scrubbed the bath to new. I drew with crayons
made of soap. And wondering what it was to shave,
cut my leg on Dad’s sharp razor blade.
Bath time brought adventure: a metal rack
packed with loofah, sponge, a blue dish
to fill and empty, clean and crinkled fingers
rubbed together with rudish shlucking sounds.
At school, where girls combined to wash,
communal ablutions diluted any sense of fun;
privacy and prudery washed away in timetabled
titivation. All residue of childhood Vimmed.
When chemo winter stole my hair and I was cold,
my constant comfort was a simple bath of tin,
filled from the kitchen sink. Lapped by life
I could be consoled by water, spirited again.
Five years feeding, oh
sweet love with needy fingers:
growing up is tough.
Slugs his way to school,
lagging; lugging a back pack:
Our boy is crossing
over roads he doesn’t know:
sees but a hard place.
His angel arrives
hot with exasperation:
in a scratched black car.
Those troubles tumble
beneath his great potential:
plugging a sinkhole.
Down he falls, silent;
mum screaming Get Up, Get Up:
always a slowcoach!
Grit in our eyelids,
we kneel down at the roadside:
and the traffic slows.
There was a -
dragon and dancing and carving and cup cakes
and raffles and bunting wound right round the
houses we waved at and talking and meeting with feathers
and flowered balloon men who bent them and gave them
to children who used them to sword fight and held up
a pound to amuse them by guessing or laughing
and dipping their fingers to show us a gift from
their shining excitement inviting us joining
with knots and steel bands and with hands
held together we picked up and packed up
our carnival treasures tucked into our costumes
we danced on our way.
In our showery garden, England, early June,
a put-your-feet-up sort of afternoon…
But we’re working hard to fill the yard
with all of our back room.
We’ll manage this clear out to perfection,
to do before precipitation
weakens our determination.
Pick up stuff, pack up stuff,
ponder, put it back perhaps?
Different pathways came together
bringing gifts of our endeavour,
soon the house was full to tipping…
We’ll take some time for contemplation,
not shrugging off or moving on,
but taking stock and making strong.
Scrap an item, save an item,
wonder, fill the bin, collapse!
A merry-busy-fruitful afternoon,
in our showery garden, England, early June.
When I am a dancer,
I spin like a leaf from a bigger tree,
my arms are reaching branches
and my fingers touch all of the world.
When I am a dancer,
as I arc and rise and stretch and curl,
my mind unravels in ancient places
and my dancing soul is free.
From our casserole such flavour,
as it’s dipped and spooned and lifted
by nitronic 60 slivers;
from our casserole, such flavour
as it stirs we’ll taste and savour,
coaxed, encouraged, fed and gifted;
from our casserole such flavour:
to new kitchens we have shifted.
In our stew there is a stirring,
time to season our endeavour,
simmered confidence emerging.
In our stew there is a stirring,
definitions changed by learning.
Add some zest and if we’re clever
in our stew there is a stirring:
time to season our endeavour.
Those arcing kites move methodically, marvellously controlled
in Greenwich Park, an acrobatic triumph
only to be wondered at. We clap, whooping praise,
then swift as the man who rises on a freaking gust,
thrust our faces the way of the wind and bluster by.
I think life’s perfect kite flyers floss their teeth,
pit themselves against the elements
and sleep in tessellation. When my vessel breaks
I endeavour to mend it, but gluing beauty
using unsuitable adhesive is rarely satisfactory.
Following this brief pattern, be needled not:
drop garments stitched on holders far too long,
and cast off messy edges, we’ve wasted yarn enough.
Slip over surplus stitches: where less is just enough
adjustable loops may later be a tightened knot
that chains unfinished making over long.
When left abbreviated, needles may long
to inch towards the finish, but seldom enough
to bind off, put away and purl-wise not.
This is a pretty thing we knit – not long enough.
I can’t be certain,
but waiting in breath-held clouds
while the sky cantankered on the knoll
I was surely petrified.
When later I fought to rise
from knees wasted in prayer
my robe caught on the buckle
of the lone soldier’s obstinate shoe.
Salt tears, searing pain
from your desperate wrench
and the high price of absolution,
hung, sharped, in the setting night.
And we will never be away, or will we?
Can we ever utter gladly,
Now we are done with this?
For the home we made together
is still reflected in reddish water.